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Diwi paints sign for Royal Freemasons Men’s Shed at 90 year’s young

By Simon Ruppert

When the Royal Freemasons Aged Care needed a sign for their new Men's Shed 90-year-old Diwi Bekins offered her services.

A long-term Benalla resident, Ms Bekins only took up painting a the age of 46, and has barely put the brush down since.

When she was approached by staff to make the sign she had only one plan.

“I had someone drop off some old saws to use as a canavas last year,” Ms Bekins said.

“Which I thought would tie-in with the Men's Shed.”

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Despite having her canvas she needed to find inspiration regarding what to paint.

“I had no idea what I would paint,” she said.

“The Men's Shed here is just one room. So first I drew that room.

“Then I looked through lots of photos of men's sheds on the computer and I picked nice ones that looked a bit rustic.

“I also found some funny pictures of the old men, which were interesting, so I painted different scenes taken from those photos.

“The most difficult part was to tie them all together.

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“I used some greenery and an outside scene, so it became one picture rather than five small ones.”

Despite not picking up her first brush until well into her 40s Ms Bekins had been involved with art via her father for some time.

“I was born in Holland and my father collected paintings,” Ms Bekins said.

“In those days they had art shows in the park and we'd take his paintings to display.

“One day I was looking at some and I told my father I could do that.

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“And he said ‘why don't you try?'.

“So I started drawing, and one day he took one of my paintings home to add to his collection.

“After a couple of years he came to visit and he had brought it over and he had had it nicely framed.”

Ms Bekins has been a keen artist ever since and spent many years as a member of the Benalla Art Group.

Ms Bekins said her main source of inspiration in life and with her painting was her faith.

“My main strength in life is a deep faith in Christ,” Ms Bekins said.

“He came to heal the broken-hearted, set the prisoners free and gave people an abundant life.

“He did exactly that for me and made my life abundant and rich.”